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Red in Space


On June 23rd we hosted the first edition of the annual Spring House Academy: a school of thought where our free-minded members explore, experiment and enjoy themselves. The theme of the day: The Origin Of Red. 

Jorge Mañes Rubio, artist-in-residence at Spring House and the European Space Agency (ESA), informs us that the colour Red is not confined to our planet, it is also found in the Universe. Think Jupiter’s Red Spot and Mars of course.

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is caused by a massive storm, an anticyclone. Mars is red because iron in the soil and rocks oxidises. The question arises: Is there life on Mars? The rule is that water brings life. The water on Mars might have evaporated, but perhaps it was full of life in the past.

In the future we will be able to travel to Mars and create a habitat there. But is that a good thing? The legal frameworks for the possibilities in space have aged. Countries cannot claim space, but will we be seeing countries starting to colonise space? Jorge Mañes Rubio believes we should use contemporary tecniques to improve our own planet before we start colonising others.

Infrared telescopes are now used to research space. The human eye can’t register the colour infrared, but we can feel it as heat. By sending an infrared telescope to outer space, we can measure the radiation emitted by young starformations. And this information can lead to more elaborate knowledge about the Big Bang.

Francine Mendelaar

Cover photo: Stuart Holt / CC BY